1. JULY 2014 MIXTAPE [MUSIC]

    Today, we’ve got the July mixtape ready for your listening pleasure. As always, you can check out our Bandcamp to download the mixtapes from the other months. If you like what you hear, click through to the artist’s bandcamp, and buy their stuff! Huge thanks to everyone involved this month!

     


  2. FJORD EXPLORER - “RAIN” [MUSIC]

    Today, it’s our final feature of the month, and it comes in the form of a “doom-folk” four piece from Jacksonville, FL, called Fjord Explorer. The track today is “Rain”, and they’ve got a record due out very soon. More below. (And don’t forget to come back tomorrow to grab the July mixtape.)

    First off, the term “doom-folk” is one of the more apt, inventive self-descriptors I’ve heard in a long time. I got a chance to preview the new record, and compared to last year’s self-titled EP, the sound has definitely progressed. Where the EP fit almost strictly into the “folk” or “folk-pop” monikers, it was nowhere near the “doom-folk” that Fjord Explorer is playing these days. It has been a welcome evolution, resulting in much more inventive tunes. The production is less straightforward, more ornate, often featuring layers of noise to create a more expansive atmosphere. All in all, it’s a fitting change from the Fjord Explorer of old. Now, the feel of the production matches the feel of the lyrical content — heavy, brooding, and full.

    The album is called I Know I’m Awake, and it’ll be dropping in the next few weeks. I think we’ll have an album review up sometime that week, so look for that. Meanwhile, keep up with Fjord Explorer on Facebook for more updates, follow them on Twitter @FjExplorer, and of course, check them out on Instagram @FjordExplorer.

    "Rain" is the first single off of I Know I’m Awake. It’s a pretty intimate tune, and a slow-burner at that. The first chorus has some soaring, double-tracked, falsetto vocals, but after that chorus finishes up is when the tune really gets going. At that point, we start getting those elements of noise and distortion slowly washing up in the background. The backing vocal elements in the second verse are very well done, and then as the second chorus hits, that’s when the distortion really gets heavy. What’s interesting about this tune is that it’s so minor and so awash in chaos, yet the lyrical content is so positive and even uplifting at times, giving you glimpses into the most tranquil moments. That juxtaposition is what really sticks out to me most in this track.

    You can find “Rain” as well as the rest of this month’s featured tracks on the free download of the GB! July 2014 Mixtape, the latest in our monthly mixtape series. Come back and get it on July 31!

     


  3. BESO - “JUST AMERICAN” [MUSIC]

    As the end of July draws ever closer, the Gelatinous Blog keeps on trucking with more tunes. Today, it’s Chicago-based Beso, another project from Matt Kissinger of Coaster, who we featured earlier this year.

    So the first question that came to mind for me was, “How different is Beso going to be from Coaster?” The conclusion I came to was that Beso feels more intimate, and while the project carries some of the same tonalities as Coaster (both musically and aesthetically), that’s to be expected. Matt also sings in Coaster, so the vocal performance (tone, melody, etc) is going to be pretty similar, and like it or not, vocals are a huge part of a band’s sound. That’s pretty much where the similarities end, though. "Inside My Head" (complete with live rooftop performance) is the most Coaster-y sounding tune, but the rest of Passive Indulgence is a bit of a departure from that sound. It’s more open and more deliberate in its approach, not as crowded or hectic. Kissinger’s strained, ardent, honest vocal approach is the common thread here, and with Beso as a backdrop, we get an experience that’s different from Coaster, but just as pleasing.

    You can go snag Passive Indulgence, the 4 track EP from Beso over at Beso’s Bandcamp page. For show dates and all that good stuff, keep up with Beso on Facebook. And of course, go follow them on Twitter @besoband.

    From the first few seconds, “Just American” sits on a fence. The chord progression to start the tune — combined with the fact that it’s solo acoustic strumming — seems like it may be just a bit on the nose, but the last chord in the progression provides that little bit of abrasiveness, resolving in an unexpected way. This resolve (or lack thereof) is what turns “Just American” into a musically interesting and utterly rad tune. On top of that, the bass line is fucking brilliant. The melody is great, but what really sticks out to me is the way it’s mixed. It’s warm, round, and pronounced, but not overpowering. Kissinger’s double-tracked vocals have him hitting awesome harmonies, and his falsetto is spot on throughout. Keep an ear out for the last verse — it consists of two vocal phrases overlaid, vaguely reminding me of some techniques from the first verse of “Carrot Rope”. While “Inside My Head” is no doubt the standout track on Passive Indulgence, “Just American” is my favorite off the EP — an underrated tune.

    You can find “Just American” as well as the rest of this month’s featured tracks on the free download of the GB! July 2014 Mixtape, the latest in our monthly mixtape series. Come back and get it on July 31!

     


  4. GRANDPARENTS - “EIGHT INCH COP” [MUSIC]

    One of the first Portland bands I was ever exposed to was Grandparents, and they set the bar pretty high. Within the first month of being in town, I got my hands on their Live from the Banana Stand record, and ever since then, it has been a staple of my car’s CD player. Seriously… haven’t switched it out since September. It’s that good.

    Today, we’re lucky enough to be able to feature a track from Grandparents. It’s called “Eight Inch Cop”, and it’s off of last year’s Rigsketball compilation. It’s a bit more overdriven and distorted than previous Grandparents tracks I’ve been exposed to, but it still holds up. Grandparents have undergone a number of line-up changes over the years, so their sound is destined to change a bit, but even with a tumultuous cast, they’ve managed to always put out quality material.

    Grandparents played last Sunday at PDX Pop Now, and it was one of my favorite shows of the weekend. If you missed it, don’t fret — you’ve got a chance to catch them this weekend and then twice in August. This weekend, they’ll be playing the inaugural Deli Brunch Series. It should be an intimate affair. Next month, Grandparents will be playing the PALS Music Festival on August 15th and Mississippi Studios on August 28th. Grandparents are currently working on a record that should be due out sometime this fall, but for now, you can go to their Bandcamp and school yourself in some vintage Grannies recordings. As always, keep up with them on Facebook for all the latest updates, and follow them on Twitter @GrandparentsPdx.

    Clocking in at just under seven minutes, “Eight Inch Cop” is an extensive, expansive track that bounces and growls along. The tempo stays elevated throughout, only taking some slight breaks — the first of which comes a bit over a minute in. At that point the overdriven guitar chords drop out for a bit, revealing an acoustic guitar that feels almost ethereal in comparison. Later on, an organ (more likely a synth that sounds like an organ) is introduced, adding a warbly, wobbly element to the treble. The tune ends with an extended instrumental section, rising, falling, and then rising again to end in a wonderfully distorted crescendo.

    You can find “Eight Inch Cop” as well as the rest of this month’s featured tracks on the free download of the GB! July 2014 Mixtape, the latest in our monthly mixtape series. Come back and get it on July 31!

     


  5. SETTLERS - “PROSKATER” [MUSIC]

    After having a blast this weekend at PDX Pop Now, it’s time to get back to the grind. Don’t worry, though — we have some tunes here to make that grind more tolerable. It’s “Proskater” from Settlers — check it out below.

    Admittedly, I don’t know much about Settlers myself. I haven’t seen them play live (yet), and I can only find a couple songs from them online, but they’re batting a thousand right now, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. It’s sunny, reverb-drenched, beach pop, featuring a generous dose of echo and delay, and big, booming, tom-focused drum patterns. Settlers have a few found-footage music videos available to watch on YouTube — there’s one for "Sky Kings" which revolves around hang-gliding, and then there’s "Proskater" which involves vintage skateboarding clips.

    Currently, Settlers are working on a record, which we’ll probably get to hear later this year. They’re trying to get a small tour together around September/October — you can keep up with that by following them on Facebook. In the meantime, put July 28th (that’s next Monday) down on your calendar as Settlers will be playing with Landlines and Lures at Kenton Club. It should be a killer show. Last but not least, check out Settlers’ website… probably the best band site around, complete with dancing baby.

    "Proskater" opens with a tom-heavy drum pattern before being joined by a hazy, blurry guitar riff, and some echoey, surreal vocal accents. It’s like a faster-paced, psychedelic re-imagining of an early Real Estate tune — like "Let’s Rock the Beach" or something. The main guitar riff is strong enough to carry along the whole tune, and while I kind of wish there were vocals, I can also respect the beauty of keeping this tune instrumental. Really, to me, the focus here is on the drumming — it’s big, in-your-face stuff, really providing the main atmosphere for the tune.

    You can find “Proskater” as well as the rest of this month’s featured tracks on the free download of the GB! July 2014 Mixtape, the latest in our monthly mixtape series. Come back and get it on July 31!